Retail Smarter

About Retail Smarter

Retail Smarter is a two-day event that brings together a diverse group of retail and industry experts. Long viewed as one of the most impactful events in retail, the schedule is loaded with engaging C-suite speakers and networking opportunities for retail professionals and students to connect.

Retail isn't dying. It's just changing, creating a new beginning for an industry that continues to thrive. Retail Smarter will host thought-provoking speakers from many industries to address these changes while discussing trends, best practices, technology, supply chain, e-commerce, sustainability and human resources. Attendees will be immersed in the world of retail and learn about topics of strategic importance to senior retail executives at leading firms.

Speakers will openly address how their company is flourishing in the changing retail landscape and ensuring that the company continues to thrive. They'll candidly share information and new ideas that are working to keep their organizations ahead of their competition.

Retail Smarter also features a RECRUITING / STUDENT CONNECT ELEMENT which includes a recruiting mixer and ample opportunities for student/employer engagement throughout the conference.

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Retail Smarter Conference is brought to you by the University of Florida's David F. Miller Retail Center and with the support of Office Depot.

  • UF Retail Center Office Depot

Conference Committee

Susan Chronister, Vice President of Sales
Element Television Company

Susan Chronister has over 25 years' experience leading and driving sales of various dynamic electronics businesses. She currently leads sales and global business development for Element TV. Previously, Susan was AVP of Sales at TracFone Wireless where she led Walmart's multi- billion dollar private label Straight Talk wireless business. While at TracFone she received multiple awards from Walmart, including Multichannel Supplier of the Year Award and the General Merchandise People Performance Supplier of the Year Award. Prior to TracFone, Susan spent 4.5 years at Walmart, strategically leading the cross functional Family Toy and Video Game teams where she was a consistent high performing executive who increased market share year after year. While at Walmart, she was honored with 2 Gold Effie awards, WOW Award, Excellence in Big Bets, Merchandising Spark Award and the Excellence in Live Better Award, was a member of the Entertainment Merchants Association board and a Graduate of the Walton Institute. Prior to Walmart Susan spent 11 years in the Video Game business driving sales at EA, Atari, THQ and Mad Catz and another 6 years as a merchant in video games. Susan is a member of the Network of Executive Women and sits on the Mentoring Committee. Susan is a graduate of the University of Florida, was on the Student Retail Advisory Board, and worked at the Center for Retailing. Because of her experience at UF she is passionate about mentoring retail students and loves being a guest lecturer for the MAR2290 class. Go Gators!

Garrett Bell, Program Coordinator, Major Gifts
The University of Florida

Garrett joined the Gator Boosters staff in November 2007. She works directly with the Major Giving team. One of her favorite responsibilities is the "Year In Review" annual publication. On game days in the fall you will find her on the 6th Floor Suite Level. She and her husband (Eddie Bell) have been married for 34 years and both grew up in Gainesville. They have two daughters, Haley, UF College of Journalism ('14) and Emilee, UF College of Journalism ('17), who graduated with honors. Both Haley and Emilee live and work in Tampa, Florida. Garrett graduated with a B.S. in Interior Design.

Daniel J. Doyle, Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer
Beall's, Inc.

Beall's, Inc., is a 500+ store chain based in Bradenton, Florida, which operates Bealls, Bealls & Burkes Outlets, Home Centric and Bunulu. Dan has over 30 years of retail experience in the Human Resources, Loss Prevention, Risk Management and Government Relations areas having held prior positions at both Marshall Field's and Lord & Taylor department store chains. Dan holds a BA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is a past Chairman of the Board of the Florida Retail Federation and past chair of the NRF Loss Prevention Council. Dan is a Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI) and serves on a number of industry related councils, including as a Director for the Center for Interview Standards and Assessments, LTD.

Christopher McLendon, Director of Technology Strategy, Retail and Hospitality
Microsoft Corporation

Christopher has spent the past twenty-five years working in information technology, spending the majority of that time focused on helping transform the retail and hospitality industry.

Today, he serves as a Director of Technology Strategy at Microsoft, where he is responsible for supporting the digital transformation of recognizable retail brands like Bloomin, Darden, Publix, Rooms to Go and Stein Mart. During his 20-year career at Microsoft he has served in a number of leadership roles, including CTO for the US Retail Industry Group, as well as helping to lead the development of several new business ventures.

In 2009, he served as the Director of Enterprise Services for the Microsoft Store, and was a member of leadership team responsible for launching the first brick-and-mortar store in September of that same year. Over the next 4 ½ years he would help to grow the retail business across three countries to more than 100 full size and small format stores and was responsible for customer experience engineering. Other highlights at Microsoft include developing and launching the first Retail Briefing & Experience Center at Microsoft and leading innovation strategy for Microsoft at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show in New York.

Christopher is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Engineering (BSCE '95) and previously served on the Industry Advisory Board for the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at U.F.

Who attends Retail Smarter?

Below is a sampling of companies that have participated in the past.

  • Abbott
  • Altria
  • Beall's
  • Caleres
  • Chain Store Guide
  • City Furniture
  • EJ Gallo
  • Enhanced Retail Solutions
  • Florida Retail Federation
  • Integrity Staffing
  • jcpenney
  • Michaels
  • Nepa
  • Office Depot
  • Ross
  • Target
  • TYCO
  • Walgreens